Worshipful Sirs and Brethren,
Join me in congratulating WBro Ben Billena, PM (Past Potentate-Al Bahr Shrine, San Diego) for his selection as the Silver Gate - Three Stars Lodge 296's Hiram Award recipient for the Masonic Year 2009.
WBro Ben, you really deserve this prestigious award. Your hard work, contributions and dedication to the Craft and to the Lodge can not be measured. Well done my Brother, again, congratulations.
Carding Edra, PM
Silver Gate Three Stars Lodge No 296
San Diego, CA
"The Hiram Award is an award presented to a Master Mason who has served the Lodge and the Masonic Fraternity with devotion over and above the ordinary. It is the highest honor other than being Master of the Lodge that can be bestowed on a member of a Masonic Lodge.
The award consists of a Certificate and a Medallion. The Medallion has the Square and Compass with the letter G in the center all of which are encircled with a Laurel Wreath. Around this are the words "Hiram Award, Dedicated Service." The back of the Medallion has a representation of the Seal of The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of California."
According to Bro Walter L. Kemmerer, long time member of Los Angeles Harbor (formerly San Pedro) Lodge No. 332; Consultant to the Grand Lodge Film and Ceative Projects Committee and the originator of Hiram Award:
"The first Hiram Award was presented by Worshipful Vern L. Belcher at San Pedro Lodge No. 332 F. & A.M. on February 8, 1964. The recipient was Past Master, 1932, Andrew D. Miller, Jr. It was held in the lodge room for Master Masons only.
"The question arises as to who shall receive the highest award Grand Lodge and Blue Lodge can bestow upon a brother. The answer is a worthy Master Mason. How many should a lodge have in one year? The answer is one per year. It should never be a secret presentation.
"Also, the candidate must be notified once he has been selected to receive the Hiram Award so that he can invite his friends and relatives. Some have traveled from the [US] East Coast to attend a presentation. There was a case where two sisters and a brother came from the East Coast to see their brother receive the award and they had not seen him for 32 years.
"There shall never be more than one Hiram Award presented in one evening and no other presentation should be made. Positively, never two or three at the same time. In one case we heard of a lodge having eight in one evening. Remember, brethren, this is a solemn event and when you have more than one you take away from the very reason you are honoring a brother with the greatest award his lodge can give - it is his night and his night alone."